Program is Open to Writers of Fiction, Poetry, & Nonfiction
Start Date is October 4th, 2021
*Early Applications are encouraged, slots are limited, and are considered in order.
Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive a formal acceptance notification via email.
Click HERE to Apply when you are ready. Payment plans are available for this mentorship program.
Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led by Courtney Cook, author of the illustrated memoir The Way She Feels: My Life on the Borderline in Pictures and Pieces (Tin House Books, June 2021). A multidisciplinary artist, Courtney’s personal essays, poetry, illustrations, fiction and comics have been published by outlets such as The Guardian, The Rumpus, Hobart, Wax Nine, and Lunch Ticket. Courtney obtained her BA in Creative Writing & Literature from the University of Michigan and MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of California, Riverside. To learn more about Courtney, head to her website.
Sometimes we have a million ideas and don’t know where to even start, so we don’t start at all.
Sometimes we begin a project and then begin another and another and another and suddenly find ourselves with fifteen unfinished projects sitting in limbo.
Sometimes we have an idea for a piece and don’t know whether it would be best suited as a poem, essay, or zine, and feel so uncertain we don’t write the piece in any form.
Without someone to check in with, hold us accountable, motivate us, and act as our personal cheerleader, we often fall into the trap of pushing things off, claiming we’ll start “tomorrow,” “next week,” or the ambiguous classic, “in the future.”
Sound familiar? It definitely does to Courtney!
Courtney’s 3-Month ONLINE Build-Your-Own-Mentorship is an open-ended mentorship designed to be adapted to your specific needs, goals, wishes, hopes, and dreams. Whether you’re looking to write personal essays, poetry, or short stories; embark in the planning, outlining, and writing of a book-length project; hoping to create a zine, graphic narrative, or comic; or explore a number of alternative forms that combine different modes of storytelling, Courtney is ready to provide her students with guidance and support, and pass on all she’s learned from her extensive and varied background in writing and art.
While some individuals identify as one particular type of writer or artist, Courtney has always had the urge to explore different mediums and art forms. This has led to her studying poetry, short fiction, and screenwriting at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, learning the ins and outs of ekphrastic poetry via New York University’s Writers in Florence program, writing her first (and only) fiction novel at age fourteen under the guidance of NaNoWriMo, enrolling in bookmaking courses at the Art Institute Chicago, attending Tin House Summer Workshop as a member of their inaugural graphic narrative cohort, illustrating a journal for Spruce Books, and studying painting, fiber arts, drawing, film, and animation at the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and the Oxbow School.
What have all these experiences taught Courtney? So many things, but most importantly: there are infinite ways to make art, and it is entirely up to each artist to decide what medium they’d like to utilize to bring their work into the world, and what they’d like that creative process to look like.
“My mentorship with Courtney launched my career as a creative writer. Before we worked together, I was riddled with self-doubt, insecure that I didn't have an MFA and uncertain about whether I should even write at all. With detailed feedback on my essays, custom curated reading lists and approachable, honest conversations, Courtney inspired me to overcome my anxieties and focus on my craft in a way that makes sense for me. In the weeks following my mentorship, my essay was accepted and published by one of my goal publications, and I was selected as a Writer in Residence to continue working on my first book. Courtney reminded me that though writing is hard, it doesn't have to be that hard.” - Kelsey Swintek
The ideal applicant for Courtney’s 3-month mentorship is someone at any stage of their writing journey who is ready to establish a practice that inspires, invigorates, and motivates them to create. Courtney’s goal is to help her students implement accountability and structure into their writing practices in a way that feels manageable and exciting rather than daunting. While some writers emphasize the necessity of writing and reading each day, Courtney understands that this may be unrealistic or impossible for many individuals for a myriad of reasons ranging from familial obligations and work schedules to mental or physical illness and beyond. This mentorship is intended to help students find what schedule or practice works for them, and to encourage students to let go of preconceived notions of what their creative process “should” look like or what they “must” do to succeed/consider themselves a writer/etc. It is Courtney’s hope that she can help her students replace shame or doubt with a clear path on how to move forward in their writing, whether that consist of daily free writes and readings, or a looser, more malleable schedule.
Students should come prepared with a number of preliminary topics, themes, or experiences they wish to pursue in their writing, an idea of what forms they’d like to explore, a list of both short-term and long-term goals for their writing and writing practice, and (if applicable) an idea of what has been holding them back from working towards achieving those goals. Applicants must be willing to receive critique alongside praise and be prepared to tackle revision at both the micro and macro level.
Keeping the craft elements that are crucial to a successful piece of writing at the forefront of her teachings, Courtney will guide writers utilizing lessons from texts such as Creative Composition (Eileen Pollack, Jeremiah Chamberlin, Natalie Bakopoulos) and via craft essays penned by writers such as Anne Lamott, Mary Oliver, and Phillip Lopate to help strengthen her students’ understanding of craft techniques and assist them in how to best implement those techniques into their work. Courtney will recommend works including poems, essays, articles, and feature-length works tailored to each writer’s needs and interests, and provide written and verbal feedback on student work that will consist of both critique and praise.
Students will submit up to twenty pages of writing every two weeks for direct feedback, which will be discussed during twice-monthly meetings taking place over the phone. Courtney is available to discuss any roadblocks that may pop up between scheduled meetings over text or email, or a call if necessary. After the meetings, Courtney will recommend texts and resources according to individual student needs. At the end of each month, students will share a process letter of one to two pages in length that details their successes and areas of concern they’d like to address going forward, which Courtney will use to structure her instruction in the coming month.
Mentor’s Monthly Input:
- Two one-on-one meetings between mentor and mentee
- Critique letter and/or in-line comments on submitted works
- Recommended readings tailored to student need and interest
- Assistance in crafting a customized writing schedule/practice
- Availability over email and phone to provide guidance, encouragement, or answer questions
The 3-Month Mentorship Entails:
- One-on-one mentoring
- Twice-monthly meetings
- Accountability and encouragement
- Access to mentor via email or phone for the duration of the mentorship
- Critique of writing, including line-edits as well as general feedback on structure, arc, etc.
- Personalized readings and assignments based on specific development needs
Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:
- Participate in two one-on-one meetings
- Working to establish and refine a writing practice/schedule between meetings
- Sending pages to mentor based on individual goals negotiated with mentor
- Composing a process-reflection letter detailing the months achievements and challenges
- Reading assigned texts mentor recommends to aid in growth
- Reviewing individual progress and areas of growth and challenge at the end of each month with mentor
Full Tuition for the 3-month program is $1,900. Accepted writers must commit to the full three months and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Affirm at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Additional Program Information:
Tuition is $1,900
Program Starts October 4th
The Mentorship is fully online and students may participate from anywhere.
NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this program.
Mentor Courtney Cook is the author of illustrated memoir The Way She Feels: My Life on the Borderline in Pictures and Pieces (Tin House Books, June 2021). A multidisciplinary artist, Courtney’s personal essays, poetry, illustrations, and comics have been published by outlets such as The Guardian, The Rumpus, Hobart, Wax Nine, and Lunch Ticket. Courtney obtained her BA in Creative Writing & Literature from the University of Michigan and MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of California, Riverside. To learn more about Courtney, head to her website.